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Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: Beltway Brigand ()
Date: March 19, 2012 03:15PM

I drive Springfield to Tysons and back daily so, like others, I've had LOTS of time to stare at the progress of the project.

Will there be a physical barrier between the HOT lanes and non-HOT lanes with limited exit/entry points? If not, the learning curve for 703 drivers AND passing-throughers to figure out there's potentially a toll involved if they don't have 3 or more in their vehicle coupled with the unavoidable over-engineered signage is going to turn that stretch of asphalt into the even wilder...Wild, Wild West.

Discuss...

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: TheMeeper ()
Date: March 19, 2012 03:23PM

They're separated. Access points are listed in their website:

http://www.495expresslanes.com/using-the-lanes

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: Jess1 ()
Date: March 19, 2012 03:37PM

They're designed for Springfield to Tysons. Not so much elsewhere - it'll be fun watching folks hop on @ the mixing bowl and then not be able to exit @ Fairfax Hsp - Gallows Road. All for the price of completely refinishing every 2 lane+ road in NoVa for the next 15 years.

Heh.

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: 1995hoo ()
Date: March 19, 2012 05:53PM

They're going to have pylons separating the Express Lanes from the mainline. If you drive on the Inner Loop from Springfield you'll see the double white line has been laid down just before the Braddock Road overpass; eventually that double white line will have pylons on top of it. The setup will not be like I-270 where you can switch periodically between the "Express" and "Local" lanes. Rather, on the Beltway once you enter the "Express Lanes" you have to stay in them until you reach one of the dedicated exit points (or the other end of the lanes).

Going northbound (Inner Loop) exit points will be at US-29 (Lee Highway); I-66 (both westbound and eastbound); VA-7; a new exit that will connect to the "Westpark Connector" bridge between Tysons I and Tysons II; a new exit that will connect to Jones Branch Drive; and the Dulles Access and Toll Roads (outbound only). ENTRANCE points will be near the Robinson Terminal; Braddock Road (from either direction via the new ramp you can see under construction), Gallows Road (ditto), I-66 (coming from eastbound I-66 only; no access to the Inner Loop from I-66 inside the Beltway); the new "Westpark Connector"; Jones Branch Drive; and the Dulles Access and Toll Roads.

Going southbound (Outer Loop), exit points will be at the Dulles Access and Toll Roads (outbound only); Jones Branch Drive; the new "Westpark Connector"; I-66 (exit from the Beltway to westbound I-66 only); Gallows Road; Braddock Road; and the end of the lanes near the Robinson Terminal. ENTRANCE points will be at the beginning of the lanes north of Lewinsville Road; the Dulles Access and Toll Roads (coming from outside the Beltway only); Jones Branch Drive; the new "Westpark Connector"; VA-7; I-66 (coming from either direction on I-66); and US-29 (Lee Highway).

In other words, it's designed to give express access to and from Merrifield, I-66, Tysons, and the Dulles Access/Toll Road. If you access the Beltway from, say, VA-236, you won't be able to use the "Express Lanes" because there will be no entrance nor exit there. You'd have to go to Gallows or Braddock to head towards Tysons, and you wouldn't have a way to access the lanes towards Springfield.

What I haven't yet been able to find out is whether the new ramps connecting the Beltway to the express lanes on Shirley Highway (I-95/395) will be tolled. I note that the toll-collection gantries are in place just to the west of the new ramps (the dual metal overhead things you see to your left in various places along the Beltway are the toll-collection points), but I haven't heard anything and I note that none of the new signs for those ramps list any toll info. I hope the ramps aren't tolled. I'd like to be able to exit from the express lanes directly to the Beltway without having to hop out of the express lanes at that ramp just south of Duke Street.

I've driven in HOT ("Express") lanes on I-95 in Miami; they're separated by pylons in the same way Virginia's will be, but they don't have the same number of exits and entrances and their system for carpools is different. (Virginia will offer a new "E-ZPass Flex" with an "HOV mode" switch. In Miami you have to register your carpool.) I found their lanes to be painless to use and a nice respite from the rat race of driving on I-95 in the Miami area, which is notorious for aggressive drivers who make DC-area drivers seem laid-back. The most important thing, I think, is that the signs MUST BE CLEAR. VDOT doesn't have a great history in that area. I have noticed that the new signs on the Inner Loop for I-66 are a lot clearer than the old ones were, though, so we'll see how it works out. I've seen a few of the new signs for the "Express Lanes" and I suspect there may be a fair amount of information for drivers to absorb.....

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: justsayin ()
Date: March 19, 2012 07:44PM

If only VDOT had held public meetings before construction so these citizens could have commented!!!!!!

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: TheMeeper ()
Date: March 19, 2012 08:03PM

justsayin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If only VDOT had held public meetings before
> construction so these citizens could have
> commented!!!!!!


The article I posted here back in 2008 is no longer available, but there was a ridiculous quote regarding those closed-door negotiations that really bothered me about this whole project:

"The lack of public scrutiny is just part of making it work. You cannot negotiate such a contract with a microphone in the room."

http://www.fairfaxunderground.com/forum/read/2/70728/

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: VDOT Spokesman ()
Date: March 19, 2012 09:08PM

Beltway Brigand Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Will there be a physical barrier between the HOT
> lanes and non-HOT lanes with limited exit/entry
> points?

Not just a physical barrier, but a class barrier as well. If you're poor, you're not allowed in the HOT lanes. Go sit in traffic with the rest of the tax leeching commoners.

Remember, if you have the cash, VDOT cares. If you don't, go fuck yourself with a cactus.

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: Bill.N. ()
Date: March 19, 2012 09:58PM

justsayin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If only VDOT had held public meetings before
> construction so these citizens could have
> commented!!!!!!

We've been down this road before. Many of us spoke up about this mess from the beginning.

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: CFbigtime ()
Date: March 20, 2012 08:55AM

This is going to be a cluster...


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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Date: March 20, 2012 09:18AM

So, how does one not get charged a toll when they are HOV 3+ ??

-----------------------------------------------

"...your suffering will be legendary even in Hell!"

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: justsayin ()
Date: March 20, 2012 09:28AM

Bill.N. Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> justsayin Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > If only VDOT had held public meetings before
> > construction so these citizens could have
> > commented!!!!!!
>
> We've been down this road before. Many of us
> spoke up about this mess from the beginning.

I am obviously refering to the OP.

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: justsayin ()
Date: March 20, 2012 09:30AM

Pinhead the Cenobite Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So, how does one not get charged a toll when they
> are HOV 3+ ??

You hit the "HOV" switch on your transponder.

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: res ()
Date: March 20, 2012 11:34AM

Well the good thing for people NOT planning to use the toll lanes is that it should alleviate traffic from them as well. If 20% of drivers use the toll lanes, then thats 20% less traffic for the non-toll lanes.

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: DH ()
Date: March 20, 2012 03:24PM

I wonder how long those pylons are going to last before someone starts taking them out?

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: NOVA Commuter ()
Date: March 20, 2012 03:48PM

justsayin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Pinhead the Cenobite Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > So, how does one not get charged a toll when
> they
> > are HOV 3+ ??
>
> You hit the "HOV" switch on your transponder.

Justsayin' is correct. However this is only the temporary fix to the problem of deciding how, when and who gets the toll. The reason I feel this is a problem is because the system must rely on the users to remember to switch the transponder manually between HOV and non-HOV mode.

The Commonwealth had the option of utilizing current heat-driven imagery technology on cameras placed at the HOT entry points, however for budgetary reasons the Commonwealth could not launch the project with that technology. They have said once the lanes have been up and running (and thus generating revenue and by extension the Commonwealth collects their contracting fee from the Australians who will be operating it), then the Commonwealth has said they will upgrade to the heat-driven imagery technology. This will detect the number of occupants in each vehicle automatically and then decide based on that data whether a toll gets levied to the vehicle.

3 or more occupants is always no charge. 2 or fewer occupants pay a per mile toll which is charged by a calculus bent on maintaining a 55mph average on the HOT lanes. There is to be no ceiling to the per mile toll in order to acheive this operational benchmark.

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: MS--14 ()
Date: March 20, 2012 03:50PM

VDOT Spokesman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Beltway Brigand Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Will there be a physical barrier between the
> HOT
> > lanes and non-HOT lanes with limited exit/entry
> > points?
>
> Not just a physical barrier, but a class barrier
> as well. If you're poor, you're not allowed in
> the HOT lanes. Go sit in traffic with the rest of
> the tax leeching commoners.
>
> Remember, if you have the cash, VDOT cares. If
> you don't, go fuck yourself with a cactus.

Hey, mang...this shit here is the 703, ese. The 703 is ALL ABOUT class barriers!

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: Radiophile ()
Date: March 20, 2012 04:47PM

I was shown the Express Lanes about a month ago. I took a picture.

Fairfaxunderground rules: Lilliputions, not ok. Midgettville ok. I got it now.
Attachments:
IMG_0438-001.JPG

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: JBass ()
Date: March 20, 2012 04:52PM

I will be using the hot lanes daily.

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: KeepOnTruckin ()
Date: March 20, 2012 05:18PM

JBass Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I will be using the hot lanes daily.


Me too! I may accidentally leave the HOV switch on my transponder on, because I frequently drive with 2 or more people in my car and so once or twice I may drive by myself and forget to turn it off

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: Buggles ()
Date: March 20, 2012 05:27PM

Radiophile Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I was shown the Express Lanes about a month ago. I
> took a picture.


It's Buggles time!


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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: Radiophile ()
Date: March 20, 2012 08:16PM

Taken back in November. Just south of Rt 66

Fairfaxunderground rules: Lilliputions, not ok. Midgettville ok. I got it now.
Attachments:
DSCN1090 (2).JPG

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: justsayin ()
Date: March 21, 2012 07:37AM

Thanks for the 4,320px × 3,240px pic posted to the forum FUNdatard/Radiophile. Would it really take that long to down-rez it so it is viewable?

The sad part is it is a good pic, you just wouldn't know it.

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Re: Question about HOT Lanes
Posted by: DH ()
Date: March 21, 2012 08:09AM

Clicking on the picture will make it viewable.

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